The Mandalorian season 2, episode 1, “The Marshal,” takes a page out of Frank Herbert’s Dune playbook, with acid-spewing megafauna that only a fremen could love. Much like the first season, the premiere is bursting with spectacle, built around a classic Star Wars sensibility (and a few known entities).
By the end of its 55-minute run time, “The Marshal” also gives credence to a fan theory about the original Star Wars trilogy’s most legendary bounty hunter, Boba Fett, rumored to have made a shadowy appearance in the first season.
[Ed. note: This recap contains major spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2, episode 1.]
“The Marshal” finds Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin aka The Mandalorian tracking a rumor of a surviving Mandalorian on the planet Tatooine. He borrows a swoop bike from Amy Sedaris’ character, the same goofy mechanic we met in season 1, and heads off into the desert toward a tiny port city long thought to be abandoned. That’s where he finds the eponymous Marshall, played by Timothy Olyphant, a lonely lawman making his way on the edge of the Outer Rim.
The Marshall’s secret weapon? A battered suit of Mandalorian armor that used to belong to none other than Boba Fett. The circumstance makes it pretty clear that Olyphant’s character is Cobb Vanth, a law-abiding hero who acquired the armor in the page’s of Star Wars: Aftermath, the canon novel set just after the events of Return of the Jedi. We can a taste of that timeline in episode 1’s satisfying flashback.
The Marshall has the legendary bounty hunter’s armor, and Din wants it back. But before the pair can finish their barroom brawl, all hell breaks loose. It’s a krayt dragon, a huge monster long thought to be extinct, and it’s tearing the town to pieces.
What follows is one of the great battles in the series’ short history, which skillfully weaves together spots of humor with big-budget special effects. It also reveals more of the humanity of the Mandalorian, who spends most of his time acting as a translator for a misunderstood band of Tusken raiders. In the end, the humans, led by the Marshall, must band together with the sand people in order to bring the massive monster down.
The Mandalorian uses all of the weapons in his arsenal, of course, including his new jetpack. The episodes action sequences were a clear nod to the legendary Star Wars Holiday Special, which first introduced the character Boba Fett. The cartoon shows him riding a sea serpent.
Season 2, episode 1’s big reveal comes in the final few moments. Just as the Marshall hands over Boba Fett’s armor to Din Djarin, the camera cuts away. There, silhouetted on the horizon, is a mysterious bald warrior with multiple, well-worn weapons strapped to his back.
When he turns to face the camera, the face is unmistakable: It’s Temuera Morrison, the same actor who played Jango Fett in the prequel trilogy.
Is Temuera Morrison playing Boba Fett on The Mandalorian? Or another character?
At the end of the fifth episode in season 1, titled “The Gunslinger,” many fans swear that Boba Fett himself wandered into the frame. Could the bounty hunter have actually survived the fall off Jabba’s sail barge and made his way through the belly of the Sarlacc? In Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars: Dark Empire run from the early ’90s, and then again in the short story collection Tales from Jabba’s Palace, the phenomenally popular Fett was established as having survived his run-in with the creature. Those stories were de-canonized when Lucasfilm went to Disney, but could showrunner Jon Favreau be remixing and recementing previous EU lore by bringing back the character?
I’m not so sure. Boba Fett was a clone of Jango Fett, and while fans never saw the bounty hunter’s face in the original trilogy, Morrison’s is the one we expect to see under that green and yellow helmet. But, Jango was also the template used to create the entire Clone Army. Morrison could just as easily be playing the role of a long lost Clone Army trooper still holding out in the desert.
The larger lore has it that clones were engineered to age much faster than normal humans, in part to help ready them for battle against the Separatists. But who knows if one or two might have found a way to stave off death and old age. Some speculate Morrison could actually be playing the role of Captain Rex, a grizzled old warrior who survived the Clone Wars only to turn up in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon series. If that’s the case, he could help Mando find his way to Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) or even Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson).
One thing the cameo promises: The Mandalorian season 2 promises to be more caught up in Star Wars history — specifically what’s been written into canon on TV — then last year. We’ll know more when episode 2 premieres on Nov. 6.